CMT revealed its 2016 “Next Women of Country” roster as part of the campaign to empower and bring awareness to some the most inspiring female vocalists in country music. This year’s list grows with the addition of ten ascending superstars: Caitlyn Smith, Jamie Lynn Spears, Jillian Jacqueline, Kree Harrison, Logan Brill, Lucie Silvas, Maggie Rose, Margo Price, Post Monroe and Runaway June. Hand-selected by CMT, the broad-ranging list of newcomers includes signed and unsigned female artists and groups who each have their own musical style and story to share.
For the first time, the list includes two all-female trios – Runaway June and Post Monroe – which have been largely missing from the country scene since the early 2000s. The new class also boasts a strong musical heritage with artists like Kree Harrison, who experienced early success when she performed on The Rosie O’Donnell Show at ten years old and later, American Idol; Jamie Lynn Spears, younger sister of Britney and accomplished songwriter; and Margo Price, whose throwback vocals earned her a spot on Jack White’s Third Man Records.
“We’re so thrilled to introduce this incredibly talented and diverse mix of female artists to the Next Women franchise,” said Leslie Fram, SVP of Music Strategy and Talent, CMT. “With the full support of the industry behind us, we continue to see this initiative make a real difference in propelling female artists into the spotlight.”
“Few partners have taken the stance of breaking and celebrating new female acts like CMT’s ‘Next Women of Country.’ They have truly empowered female artists and created an environment for fans to connect and discover new artists coming out of Nashville,” said Cindy Mabe, President, Universal Music Group Nashville. “From being one of the first champions of Kacey Musgraves in 2013, to igniting the flame behind Lauren Alaina’s ‘Road Less Travelled’ this past year, CMT’s ‘Next Women of Country’ is helping to break female artists and give them a voice.”
CMT has a history of breaking female artists in a male-dominated format using its “Next Women” franchise as a launching pad. Several alumnae have achieved groundbreaking commercial and critical success, including 2015 alum Maren Morris, whose debut album Hero entered the country charts at No. 1. Kelsea Ballerini (class of 2014) broke records with three No. 1 hits from her debut album, and Kacey Musgraves (inaugural class of 2013) firmly established her place with a slew of critical praise and awards, including the Grammy for Best Country Album for Same Trailer Different Park.
CMT first launched its “Next Women of Country” campaign in 2013, and subsequently launched two female-fueled tours in 2015 and 2016 with Jana Kramer, Kelsea Ballerini, Jennifer Nettles, Brandy Clark, Lindsay Ell and Tara Thompson. Earlier this year, CMT grew the franchise yet again to include a digital performance series, “Next Women of Country LIVE,” featuring exclusive new performances each week on CMT.com.
Meet the ‘Next Women’ Class of 2016:
Jamie Lynn Spears
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.